By: Lottie Salarda, InterAksyon
October 4, 2016 10:46 AM
Caibiran, Biliran – The Espinazos, a family of professionals in Barangay Uson here has decided to personally cultivate their seven-hectare land according to the tenets and best practices of organic farming.
It was in the year 2011 when the Espinazos decided to start some serious cultivation and to plant various kinds of fruit trees, like cacao, rambutan, watermelon, banana, coffee, guava, and lemon.
Aside from fruit trees, they also collected different kinds of herbs like stevia, taragon, java mint, lemon balm, spear mint, choco mint, rosemary, holy basil, thai basil, chives, long coriander and Italian oregano.
Not long afterward came livestock: native breed chickens, sheep and goats.
Having become more sophisticated by then, they tried their hand at producing their own vermicast for supplementing their fertilizer requirements.
The place was named Canaan Hill farms because Canaan means “The Land of Promise”, according to Jeffrey Espinazo, one of the Espinazo brothers who personally manages the farm.
Jeffrey, a former seaman, is a Professor at Naval State University. His parents, both with a farming background, together with his seven siblings, decided to put up a fully organic farm to make good use of the land God had given to them.
The family’s passion, it has come to be, is in farming.
“Sa panahon kasi ngayon lahat ng kinakain natin may mga chemical, may mga MSG. Ang mga pagkain dito at least organic hindi nakakasama sa ating katawan (Nowadays, most of what we eat can be laced with chemicals and synthetic substances, vetsin [monosodium glutamate]. Here in our farm we grow and prepare food that is organic and healthy),” said Espinazo.
Their mother, Priscilla Alavera-Espinazo, is a food technologist. She typically processes some of the food in the farm to serve the guests.
The farm is open to public, with a modest PhP50 entrance fee per head, and, if for educational visits, they charge students P40 pesos each.
The farm’s visitors can pick/harvest non-commercial quantities of fruits or vegetables desired. They also have a bee farm, which yields bottles of honey also for sale.
Canaan Hill farm is not immune to the vicissitudes of nature; they closed in February due to the impact of the El Niño dry spell, and reopened only this June.
“Sana ang mga bagong henerasyon ay magmahal sa farming (We hope the new generation will love farming),” Jeffrey said.
Meanwhile, Department of Tourism Regional Office 8 Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes disclosed, Canaan Hill farm is the first DOT-accredited fun farm in Eastern Visayas, where they practice 100% organic farming.